Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Matters

We've been waiting to hear who will be the new Secretary of Energy. Even though my boss announced to the executive team this morning that he was not going to Washington, I remained confident that someone besides the normal business as usual, green on the edges, let's not be too concerned about climate change if it endangers our economy, fire burning neo-neanderthal would get the nod.

And it looks like we are not going to be disappointed.

According to Huffington and everyone else, it will be Steven Chu:

A Chinese-American, Chu is a professor of physics and molecular and cell biology at the University of California-Berkeley and has been the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory since 2004, where he has pushed aggressively for research into alternative energy as a way to combat global warming.

It is the oldest of the Energy Department's national laboratories, but does only unclassified work. In recent years under Chu, it has been at the center of research into biofuels and solar technologies. Chu has been a strong advocate for the need to engage scientists in the search for ways to combat global warming by replacing fossil fuels with other energy sources such as biofuels and the sun.

And this comes from the Steven Chu page on Wikipedia

Steven Chu is an American experimental physicist and President-elect Barack Obama's Secretary of Energy-designate. He is known for his research in laser cooling and trapping of atoms, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997. His current research is concerned primarily with the study of biological systems at the single molecule level.

He is currently Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology of University of California, Berkeley and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

As global warming warnings grow more dire, Chu is currently pushing his scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and industry to develop technologies to reverse climate change.

And according to the Journal, Obama's new energy czar will be Carol Browner:

Democratic officials said Wednesday. Carol Browner, who headed the EPA under President Bill Clinton, will coordinate energy policy from the White House in a new "energy czar" role.

Browner, 52, would be charged with coordinating environment and energy initiatives across the administration, the aides said.

Other developments in Obama's energy team include Nancy Sutley, an energy official for the city of Los Angeles, who will be Obama’s choice to head thes White House Council on Environmental Quality, according to the aides.

Energy and environmental policies are central to Obama’s plans to revive the economy. Obama has said he wants to spend $150 billion over 10 years to cut greenhouse-gas emissions and create millions of jobs in a new “green” energy economy. "

The idea of having a real scientist in charge of DOE is rather remarkable. Thanks to Wikipedia, here's some history:

The first Secretary of Energy was former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, a Republican nominated to the post by Democratic President Jimmy Carter, the only time a president has appointed someone of another party to the post. Schlesinger was also the only secretary to be dismissed from the post.

Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Energy, Hazel R. O'Leary, was the longest to hold the position, as well as its first female and African-American holder. Clinton also named Federico Peña to the post, the first Hispanic to hold the position. Bill Richardson, who succeeded Peña, was the second Hispanic to hold the position and later became Governor of New Mexico. The current secretary, Samuel W. Bodman, has held the post since February 1, 2005.

If confirmed Steven Chu will be the 12th Secretary of Energy, but he might well be the first to understand the challenge of climate change with the scientific understanding to forge a solution.

Whether or not he will succeed in this epic effort is not really the issue here.

The fact that he actually has a chance....

Is what matters.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time is of the essence:

1. We need $150B in 3 years, not 10, for the environment and an economic stimulous.

2. Results, not efforts, from a Nobel prize winner with White House cover.

3. If 1 & 2 are delayed, expect Oil and Coal to regain momentum.

10:28 AM  

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